Otavalo – Early Birds on the Indian Market

We got used to the altitude in the Andes. For the first days, you feel much older up here at 4000+ meters.

Despite our lack of Spanish, we organized a luxury low-budget trip to Galapagos. A long-term dream of us about to come true.

Still pumped with energy to explore. No vacation time to waste. Only much later we will realize the value of just living into the day. From time to time floating around, letting things happen.

But for now: How to fill the 2 day gap until Galapagos?

I saw some interesting pictures by fellow travelers. As food-lover I am anxious. Now I need to convince Thorsten to explore one of the biggest farmers markets in the region…

He is up for some detour. All things back into the backpack. We store the luggage at the hostel and travel light.

About an hour bus ride to Otavalo. Local buses are an experience in its own. Timetables seem to be non-existent. Where the buses leave depends on the destination. Can be a proper bus terminal. Can be a street corner. Always ask the locals – better more than one.

Going rate for local buses: 1 hr = 1 USD per person

You can do it on a day trip. But you miss out on the real experience. We want the real local experience, beyond the bus tours. We stay one night in a cheap hostel. Very basic. But it’s only for a few hours.

We wake up from the neighboring roosters. Shortly before sunrise. A glimpse at the watch. 4:30am. The alarm would anyhow go off in a few minutes. We are here for a reason. Let’s get going…

A cold shower and a first instant cup of coffee later we are outside on the street. It looks much different than yesterday night when we went to bed.

It is crowded with indigenous people. Many wearing local dresses. Carrying heavy weights or pushing self-made carts.

Over night they came from the surrounding villages to offer their produce: Chicken, Cuy (guinea pig), rabbits, dogs. Vegetables and fruits, all colors, known and unknown kinds. Anything you can think of made from wood and wool. #excited#

Where exactly to go? Early wake-up? What to see? We don’t care, follow the flow of streets and masses. Anxiously observing what products are changing hands and between whom.

Once we reach the limits of the market, it’s already after 8am. On our way back, we see the first sleepy tourists of today walking towards us…they are too late. The nature of the market has changed. Now there is more a general store. And souvenirs on offer.

We “end the day” with a brunch at one of the food stalls on the market. Sitting between many locals, that likely got up even earlier than us. Both of us smiling *smiley smiling*

Now we are back in Quito. Tomorrow morning we fly East. Some 1.000km over the Pacific, off the coast from Ecuador. Visiting the Galapagos archipelago, seeing creatures already Darwin described.

Note: This post was originally written back in 2009. We gave it a “refresh” when transferring to our new domain in 2019.

Things you still remember 10 years later are worth writing them down…

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